Oral cancer in older adults

1 03 2010

As part of the Windy City Lecture Series, Dr. Joel Laudenbach presented “Oral Examination and Lesion Assessment in Older Adults” at the CDS Midwinter Meeting Saturday afternoon.  

The hour-long course covered oral cancer screening techniques and special considerations for older adults. Dr. Laudenbach talked about the importance of taking a thorough health history and showed examples of common lesions observed in older patients and asked the audience to identify them. He also went over common problems older adults face, such as loss of elasticity and a decreased immune response. He went over common risk factors, such as poor nutrition, family history and alcohol and tobacco use. He also reminded attendees how important it is for patients to take out appliances before the oral cancer exam is performed, even though some of your older patients may not want to. 

Those who attended the lecture learned about the potential pitfalls that can come up when examining older patients and how to know when they need to perform additional tests and/or refer. 

“These older patients really make us work a little harder,” Dr. Laudenbach said. “But we really have to get to the bottom of what’s going on.”

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